Maritime Wellness Institute


Wellness at Sea and Performance

Over the last two years since ZS Wellness was founded in 2017, you will have heard me talk almost to the point of annoyance about wellness at sea, in particular, crew wellness at sea. Now all of a sudden, you're seeing me write about performance. How does performance and wellness work together? Well, quite simply, wellness is a state of being in good mental and physical health. 

We have adequate medical certifications that ensure that crew are healthy before they go to sea. There are some fantastic organisations that are starting to support mental health of seafarers and ensuring that there's suitable solutions in place to prepare crew mentally before they go to sea, whether it's for the first time as the cadet or whether it's at a hundredth to time as a master mariner. But when we start to look at performance specifically, we start to drill down on specific elements where we start to bring into the equation the conversation of fitness in the rawest sense.

When we take a Formula One team as an example, team members will be in good health. They'll have generally good wellness. However, it's essential that the management ensures that their team is able to perform at their best in order to get the fastest time round the lap to win the race. That is what they're out there to do. They put a huge amount of time and money into investment into the vehicle design and they also need to put time and money into ensuring that their team are performing at their best, not just simply in good health and wellness.

So when we break and come on to looking at a ship and the crew on board, our team at sea, are we doing everything in our power to ensure that they're performing at their optimum, at their best every single day in order to ensure that our vessels are operating at their best? That we're able to go out and win new contracts because our vessels are performing better than anyone else's. Just like we ensuring that like our vessels are being fuelled suitably, are we fuelling our crew suitably? Nutrition is a key element to ensuring performance and good health. You don't see a performance athlete going down to the chippy and having fish and chips every single day. There'll be eating a diet that is suitable for the job that is ensuring that they're fuelled adequately.

Before Michael Phelps starts to race, he goes through a certain procedure to ensure that he is mentally ready, mentally able to perform and go out and win the race.

What are we doing onboard ship? Do we have the systems, the policies, the procedures in place, the tools and resources to improve mental health at sea, to support our crew mentally health, are they able to perform at their best?

Sleep is a huge element of performance and good health and wellbeing. Yes, we have the MLC. Yes, we have hours of rest. However, how is sleep affecting human performance? And specifically, how is that rest and sleep affecting vessel performance?

We have procedures and policies in place in order to ensure that during off-time our vessels are essentially recovering, that our vessels are able to perform every single day, that certain maintenance plans are put into place. So what are we doing to ensure that our crew are well rested suitably, not just to the minimum standards, that they're able to perform at their peak, that they're being fueled suitably, that their head is in the game, that they feel content and motivated to go off and do the job in hand, that they're not going to leave and go to another company as soon as they step off the ship? These are all areas of performance and they do tie directly back to wellness.

But wellness is a huge topic. It is a massive conversation that we're constantly talking about. When you step into the wellness industry, which is valued at $4.2t , wellness is a far larger conversation than just simply mental and physical health and fitness.

With performance, we look to improve it, to go out and be the best that we can when we're at work, at home, that our vessels are operating at their best, go out and win new clients, to go out and be the best vessels on the high seas that people want to work with. Attracting the best seafarers but also attracting those new clients, those clients that we have always been wanted. By increase crew performance and you will improve vessel performance.

Coming soon is a unique scorecard that you can start to rate where your vessel performance is and what areas you need to do to improve that. Have a great day.

andrew cowderoy